This is another eclectic mix that veers from dance to alternative to pop and beyond. Thanks to J.R. Atwood over at www.spinningmixes.wordpress.com for Rainy Monday and Ocean Avenue, both from his latest Spin mix.

Going Wrong (with DJ Shah featuring Chris Jones) – Armin van Buuren (5:36): van Buuren is a Dutch DJ with a law degree. He was voted the #1 DJ in a 2007 DJ Magazine poll. Warmup with an easy cadence, and some light stretching – take a few deep breaths, do some shoulder rolls. Around 4:00, increase the tension to 3/10 or 4/10 and quicken the pace a bit.

Rainy Monday – Shiny Toy Guns (4:00): Leave that tension where it is! This song is a seated climb with a difference – we’re going to increase the tension every 30 (or 60) seconds and quicken the pace by 10-20% at each chorus.

Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard (3:18): Everyone’s warmed up, so it’s time to sprint down the hill we just climbed. Use the first 50 seconds of this song for recovery and easy spinning with tension around 4/10. The first sprint comes at 0:50 – 1:05 and it’s 15 seconds of explosive, out of the seat effort. Take 30 seconds for recovery, then we’ll do a slightly different sprint from 1:35 – 3:18 (the end of the song). Because it’s long, at 1:45, it’s a sustained effort at 80% of their maximum pace – tell the riders we’re trying to overtake the lead rider, who’s well ahead. Remind them to take a break midway if they need it.

Cry for You (UK Radio Edit) – September (2:48): Break it up with some lifts. We’re going to do 4x 8 counts, 4x 4 counts, and 4x 2 counts, then repeat. This song isn’t a cover, but it borrows heavily from Smalltown Boy, the Bronski Beat’s 1984 hit.

Thunderstruck – Birmingham 6 (5:17): People have mixed feelings about dance covers of songs that were never meant to be club tunes – I recently came across a dance version of Kansas’s Dust in the Wind, which is wrong on so many levels. This controversial Danish band’s AC/DC cover is climbing the charts on iTunes, which is convenient, because we’re going to use it to climb, too.  Increasing the tension after each chorus. Use the last 30 seconds for recovery.

Tonight – Jonas Brothers (3:29): More sprints, standard all-out-effort this time: 35/45/50 seconds at 0:38 – 1:14, 1:39 – 2:04, and 2:28 – 3:18.

Athena – The Who (3:48): Single-leg training 45 seconds per side, 2 sets. Make sure riders keep both feel on the pedals for this drill. This was always one of my favourite Who songs, with Roger Daltry at his blustering best.

Free Fallin’ (Live) – John Mayer (4:24): Cool down and stretch to Mayer’s gorgeous version of Tom Petty’s hit. I see why Jennifer Aniston is so taken with him.

One of my regulars approached me last week to ask my advice about nutrition and weight-loss. It’s an area of significant interest for me.  As near as I can figure, here are seven fundamental truths I’ve learned about weight loss:

1. A calorie may be a calorie, but metabolism and genetics are very individual – just as some people are better looking, smarter, or more athletic than others, some people are gifted in the metabolic department. Gina Kolata explores this concept in her latest book, Rethinking Thin.

2. Exercise is great for you, and feels wonderful, but if you’re not watching your diet, you’re not going to lose weight. Sorry.

3. How you look matters more than what you weigh. I wear the same clothing size now that I wore when I was 23, but I weigh 20lbs more than I did then. How is this possible? I weight train now; I didn’t then. Muscle weighs more than fat. Weight gain from muscle development and toning is a good thing.

4. Portion creep and calorie creep have proven the undoing of many dieters. It’s the daily handful-of-this, few-extra-bites-of-that, I’ll-just-have-one-they’re-small that sabotages most people’s results, not the blowout during their week of vacation. I recommend recording what you eat in a food journal. Occasionally enter a day (or better, a week) of meals into a program like FitDay – it will tell you exactly how many calories you’re consuming, and whether you’re meeting recommended requirements for vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s free.

5. For short-term weight loss, nothing beats a low carbohydrate diet, like Atkins or South Beach. Many people think of low carb diets as all bacon, eggs and bunless cheeseburgers, since this is what is portrayed in the media. Really, the diet is about eating ordinary portions of protein, tons of vegetables, and not worrying about fat content. It is also about avoiding sugar, refined carbohydrates, and highly processed convenience foods – all good lessons that are just now coming into the public consciousness. I think one of the reason low carb diets work so well is they forbid most of the foods that people are tempted to overeat.

6. For long term health, I think the best diet is what bodybuilders call “clean eating” – tons of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, lower fat dairy, whole grains, lots of water, minimal saturated fats, added sugars, alcohol, or processed foods, and no trans fats. Each of 5-6 daily mini-meals should contain complex carbs and lean protein. (I confess, mini-meals have never worked for me. I prefer to eat three meals at regular times and avoid snacking unless my meal will be significantly delayed, or I’m working out in the mid-afternoon. If I do snack before a workout, it’s typically a banana or plain yogurt.)

7. Eat at regular intervals and don’t skip meals. Ravenously hungry people make bad food choices. Remember the acronym HALT: if you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, you’re at risk for making bad food choices. Sometimes, realizing this is all it takes to steer you away from the drive-through and towards the grocery store.

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